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Report on Etna (Italy) — 12 February-18 February 2003

Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2003
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 2003. Report on Etna (Italy). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 12 February-18 February 2003. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.

Volcano Profile |  Weekly Report (12 February-18 February 2003)


Etna

Italy

37.748°N, 14.999°E; summit elev. 3295 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


According to the Italy's Volcanoes website, on 12 February a series of ten earthquakes occurred on Etna's NE flank in the same area that was affected by vigorous seismicity and ground deformation before and during the initial phase of the 27 October 2002 to 28 January 2003 eruption. The largest earthquake occurred on 13 February at 0632, with a magnitude of 3.8 and a focal depth of 1.65 km.

Geologic Background. Mount Etna, towering above Catania, Sicily's second largest city, has one of the world's longest documented records of historical volcanism, dating back to 1500 BCE. Historical lava flows of basaltic composition cover much of the surface of this massive volcano, whose edifice is the highest and most voluminous in Italy. The Mongibello stratovolcano, truncated by several small calderas, was constructed during the late Pleistocene and Holocene over an older shield volcano. The most prominent morphological feature of Etna is the Valle del Bove, a 5 x 10 km horseshoe-shaped caldera open to the east. Two styles of eruptive activity typically occur, sometimes simultaneously. Persistent explosive eruptions, sometimes with minor lava emissions, take place from one or more summit craters. Flank vents, typically with higher effusion rates, are less frequently active and originate from fissures that open progressively downward from near the summit (usually accompanied by Strombolian eruptions at the upper end). Cinder cones are commonly constructed over the vents of lower-flank lava flows. Lava flows extend to the foot of the volcano on all sides and have reached the sea over a broad area on the SE flank.

Source: Italy's Volcanoes